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Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and " that believing ye might have life through 6 his name.”
In the twenty-sixth chapter of St. Matthew, and the twenty-sixth and some fucceeding verses, we have the following account of the institution of this blessed facrament. “ And as they were eating,
Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and “ brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and “ said, Take, eat; this is my body. And " he took the cup, and gave thanks, and
gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of “it: for this is my blood of the New Tef“tament, which is shed for many for the “ remission of sins.” To which account St. Luke adds these words : “ This do, in “ remembrance of me.”
It behoves us to consider well the following points : The Author of the institution; the time of it; the nature and purposes for which it was instituted; and, lastly, the manner in which we should prepare ourselves to celebrate it, so as to derive from it all the benefits it offers to us.
I propose to consider all these points in their order, and then to make some observations, and draw some conclusions from the whole.
And, first, as to the Author of this facrament. It was no less a person than the Son of God himself: who, in compassion to loft mankind (become by their own inexcu. sable folly and perverseness the objects of God's wrath), and to restore them to his favor by taking upon him the penalty of their guilt, had, voluntarily, quitted the glorious mansions of bliss ; taken upon himself their nature, with all its imperfections and frailties, fin only excepted; had fubmitted to pass thirty-three years on earth, in a state of abject poverty, and, during the three last of them, subjected to every species of insult and contempt which the pride and arrogance of power and riches could impofe upon him, and now on the point of experiencing the most unheard of cruelties and tortures which the malice and resentment of man could invent, and of closing the whole by a
death the most painful and ignominious— even the death of the cross.
Such was the divine Author; and the time was immediately previous to the completion of his sufferings ; the very night before his crucifixion.
The purpose of the institution is declared, by Christ himself, to be that of perpetuating, through all ages, the remembrance of his wonderful love to mankind; and the gratitude and obedience which are his dues from them, in consequence.
It was to take place of the Passover; that having been established in remembrance of God's deliverance of the Jews, when he smote all the first-born of the land of Egypt, from the bondage of Pharaoh; and as a type, or shadow, of a much greater deliverance mankind were to experience in the voluntary sacrifice of Christ, the true paschal Lamb: this being therefore on the point of its accomplishment, the shadow was of course to be done
away. The nature of it was perfectly simple;
but fully expressive of the blessings it was to convey.
The elements to be received were bread and wine : intimating, that as they gave strength and vigor to our natural bodies, so when received, through faith, as the body and blood of Christ given for us, they would, in like manner, operate as spiritual food to our souls, and improve us in every Christian virtue.
We come now to consider the manner in which we should prepare ourselves for the worthy receiving of it.
It must be evident to every Christian, who reflects on the atonement required by God for the guilt of mankind, (whose justice could be satisfied with no less an offering than the death of his own son,) how great must be his hatred against sin, and how incumbent it is upon us to 'expel from our hearts what cost our Lord so
It will therefore be necessary, in the first place, to examine into the state of our soul, that we may see and know what the situation of it actually is. God does
not expect perfe&tion from us; but has been graciously pleased to promise his acceptance of our sincere and hearty endeavors to please him, and of repentance and determination of amendment, when we have done amiss. Our Church catechism points out to us the several heads on which we ought to examine ourselves; namely :
Whether we repent us truly of our former fins ?
Whether we stedfastly purpose to lead a new life?
Whether we have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ ?
Whether we have a thankful remembrance of his death? And,
Whether we be in charity with all men?
Having fully and impartially examined * ourselves, on all these points; solicited the grace of God's holy spirit, to assist our honeft endeavors; and formed our resolution for the time to come ; let us not scruple to present ourselves at God's holy